SCOOP: Lawsuit alleges "systematic" potency inflation at Jeeter
A potential class action suit alleges that the makers of Jeeter prerolls defraud customers by “systematically” overstating the THC content of their products. The suit, filed Thursday in California court, cites WeedWeek’s reporting which found widespread potency inflation in tests of seven leading California preroll brands, including Jeeter. (Read the complaint.)
Desert Hot Springs (Riverside Co.)-based defendants Dreamfields Brands and Med For America, “have a direct financial incentive to overstate the THC content of their products,” the suit claims. Filed on behalf of two California plaintiffs by LA-based firm Dovel Luner, it alleges, “If defendants told the truth about the THC content of their products, they would have had to lower the price and plaintiffs and class members would have paid less.” The defendants didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The suit seeks unspecified total damages. A judge needs to approve the class action request for plaintiffs to invite additional Jeeter buyers to join the suit.
California regulations give labels a 10% margin of error for the THC percentage listed on labels. WeedWeek’s reporting found nine out of nine California prerolls, including two Jeeter products, were more than 10% inflated. The inflation on their labels ranged from 14% to more than 500%. For the Jeeter products it was between 28% and 100%.
- The article also cautions that the testing data WeedWeek was able to accumulate is not sufficient to draw conclusions about any particular brand or product.
- [Added 10/21/22 Jeeter’s lab, which is not mentioned in the suit, stood by its results for both tests.
The complaint doesn’t cite any additional tests of Jeeter products. It says virtually all of Jeeter’s flagship infused prerolls are labeled above 35% THC and cites a Leafly article that calls 35% THC the biological “rough upper limit” for flower. (Infused prerolls, which contain concentrates and flower, probably have a higher biological upper limit than flower.)
High THC levels “allows Defendants to charge premium rates,” the complaint claims. However the THC labels on the packaging are “false.”
3.5M prerolls a month
In California’s challenging market, Jeeter’s streetwear-inspired brand has been a breakout success. College friends and co-CEOs Sebastian Solano and Lukasz Tracz launched it in 2018. They’d previously sold Life in Color, a party promotions company they’d founded in south Florida. “Jeeter” is south Florida slang for a joint.” In August, CNBC reported that the company projects more than $400M in revenue this year.
- According to Headset, Jeeter accounts for nine of the top 10 preroll SKUs in California.
Californians smoke about 3.5M Jeeter prerolls a month, the company says. There are now millions of potential “class members” who could join the lawsuit.
Among other claims, the complaint alleges violation of California’s False Advertising Law since “defendants misrepresentations and omissions were material.” In other words, the THC percentage on labels figures in consumer buying decisions. It also quotes a Jeeter site saying its infused prerolls “will get you to Mars quicker than Elon Musk.”
- Jeeter products are also available in Arizona and Michigan. Neither market is involved in the lawsuit.
A “pernicious” problem
With buyers on the hunt for high-THC products, the problem of brands “lab shopping” until they find one that will give them the desired THC levels is a widely acknowledged across legal states. In July, a potential class action suit alleged the Arkansas subsidiary of Steep Hill Labs’ and its partner growers violated federal racketeering laws by inflating potency claims.
The complaint quotes UC Davis chemistry and forensics professor Dan Land who calls THC inflation a “pernicious” practice that is strongly incentivized with little risk of getting caught. In response to the issue, California’s Department of Cannabis Control has proposed standardizing testing methods. Critics of the idea say it won’t help since the results stem from bad actors looking to mislead their customers, not confusion over the testing process.
Update 10/24: Jeeter responded:
Let us get straight to the point. The allegations regarding our THC levels are false.
We take pride in our compliance and commitment to state mandated testing procedures, including independent, third-party testing. The product and our integrity is something we truly value as a company, and take all the proper and legal steps before our product hits the shelves.
We built this company with a foundation of morals, values and culture, and our love for cannabis. We take pride in all the jobs we have created and pushing the industry forward.
However baseless and ridiculous these claims are, we take them very seriously and look forward to the truth coming to light.